The Diary: Julian Assange; David Fincher; Coen Brothers; Polly Stenham; David Shrigley


Julian of the opera

It has melodrama and scandal, secrets and lies, and, at its heart, a memorably flawed hero. Now the Wikileaks saga is to become an opera. Last month, Opera Australia held secret workshops in Melbourne for a new piece based on the life of Julian Assange (above left). The creation of OA's artistic director Lyndon Terracini – one-time neighbour of Assange in Lismore, New South Wales – the opera has a score by the young composer Jonathan Dreyfus and comes with the blessing of the Wikileaks founder.

At this stage, details are swathed in secrecy, but Terracini reveals: "I can tell you that I came up with the idea and engaged some pretty 'out there' guys to develop something to workshop. That's all we have at this point in time. We're looking at how we actually do it."

One of the "out there" guys was Eddie Perfect, a singer and comedian who previously gave voice to Shane Warne in a musical version of the cricketer's life. So, who is more enjoyable to sing – Assange or Warney? "Assange is a greater challenge because his personality is filtered through the media and we rarely see the "human" side. He's also more subdued. Withdrawn, geekish, driven, perhaps a little arrogant," Perfect tells me. "I really like him though. Warney is all exterior and rarely self-reflective. Assange is all interior."

The many take club

Is David Fincher the new Stanley Kubrick? According to Robin Wright, who stars in his upcoming The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the director thinks nothing of shooting the same scene up to 90 times to get his take. "He shoots for nine months and it shows. On the set you literally do 87 takes, picking up a glass, and each one is different. He'll just keep the camera rolling and... you can go for 40 minutes," said the actress at Doha Tribeca Film Festival. "He doesn't call 'cut'. He'll give you a different adjective every time you pick up the glass... You just have to stop thinking and react. He is a machine." Kubrick is reputed to have required 127 takes for a scene involving Shelley Duvall in The Shining so, really, Wright got off lightly.

No credit for the other Coen

They alternate top billing on their films, but the latest project from the Coen Brothers will have only one name below the title. Later this month, three one-act plays by Ethan Coen premiere in New York in an Atlantic Theatre Company production, starring Amanda (daughter of Randy) Quaid. Happy Hour, a trio of dark comedies about a bitter barfly, a lonely young couple and a suicidal businessman, comes with the Coen-esque tag line, "Your life could be worse". Another of Coen's dramas, Talking Cure, is currently running on Broadway as part of Relatively Speaking, alongside one-act plays by Woody Allen and Elaine May. The brothers have just finished filming a remake of the 1966 art heist Gambit, starring Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth in New Mexico and London. Perhaps they just need a little time apart.

Urban gothic

There was a chance to see new work by Polly Stenham at the nabokov art club's Festival of the Dead last weekend. At midnight, Hallowe'en revellers at Battersea Arts Centre gathered in the entrance hall to watch a high priestess begin the "ritual". Though hard to judge the merits of Stenham's script (it had been translated into gothic-sounding Romanian), the piece reached a suitably dramatic sacrificial climax, involving aerial gymnastics and a UV rave. Stenham was introduced to nabokov's artistic director Joe Murphy by the playwright Simon Stephens. "Polly was attracted to the idea of a collaborative piece rather than sitting in a room writing on her own," says Murphy. "We're hoping to take the piece to a festival and are working on more projects."

Surreal cooking show

David Shrigley, best known for his cartoon vignettes of modern life, has written an opera. Pass the Spoon premieres at Glasgow's Tramway this month and is a surreal take on a TV cookery show, featuring a singing banana, a glum egg and a giant dung beetle. The artist hopes to tour it to QEH in London to coincide with his exhibition at the Hayward next year, which will include several new large works and films and an animation about a drummer. He last showed there as part of Laughing in a Foreign Language in 2008. "The problem with that show was that as soon as you say something is about humour, it instantly becomes not funny," he says.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?